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[15:54] <Sachiko> Sachiko groaned. She didn't really remember getting back to her room following their encounter with Black Hat, but the next day she woke to find herself sprawled diagonally across her bed, shoes still on and the barrette in her hair digging into her temple. A glance towards her clock said it was nearly midday.-
[15:54] <Sachiko> Ten minutes later she limped out of the elevator and into the common area, wearing a mismatched outfit comprised of the first clothes she'd laid eyes on. Getting out of bed had been something of a lengthy, painful process, and one she'd have rather put off, but she had woken up famished and thirsty and that had to be seen to.
[16:05] <PersonaGM> [The kitchen was already in use, judging by the sounds of frying oil and the spiced scent of cooking chicken. Sachiko would soon see their newest return guest, Yi Ji-Hu, hard at work on the stove, pushing chunks of crumbed chicken around in a pan.]
[16:29] * Sachiko let the door close a little more heavily than she normally would and shuffled towards the cupboards. "Morning."
[16:33] <PersonaGM> ["Oh, good morning, Kurata. Are you hungry?" Said Ji-Hu, glancing over her shoulder. Ji-Hu looked a little tired, her hair had been given the simplest of treatments and she was wearing what were presumably Hideki's clothes, as the shirt she had on was several sizes too large and the shorts she wore had been secured by a belt.]
[16:46] <Sachiko> "… starving, actually." she admitted. She opened the fridge and poured herself some orange juice. "I don't want to steal your food, though."
[17:07] <PersonaGM> ["Pfft. It's like, fried chicken. I don't really like greasy food, but it's one of the few things I can cook reliably. I tried to make a sauce, but I can't really promise an authentic Korean experience." She said with a snicker.]
[17:16] <Sachiko> "I'll try to struggle through it," she said. She pulled up one of the stools by the counter. "How are you managing?"
[17:31] <PersonaGM> ["That's a good question. I'm trying to take things one at a time, I guess. I have a lot I want to know about…"]
[17:32] <Sachiko> "Well the good news is I trade info for food."
[17:37] <PersonaGM> ["Haha." She transferred the chicken to a large plate, then dumped a boat of sticky, rich dark red sauce over the lot.-
[17:37] <PersonaGM> [A few minutes later they were sitting around the dinner table, Ji-Hu sporting a glass of milk.-
[17:38] <PersonaGM> ["So, uh… I don't even know where to start…"]
[17:49] <Sachiko> It seemed like 'starving' had been the right word, as Sachiko started eating the moment she sat down. She chewed thoughtfully for a moment, and then started counting off options with sauce-stained fingers. "'How did you guys get involved in this?', 'What are you trying to do?', 'Why does your cat talk?'. All good starts."
[17:50] <PersonaGM> [Ji-Hu gingerly picked up a piece of chicken with some chopsticks- like a civilized being- and gently blew on it a dozen times before taking a small bite.-
[17:51] <PersonaGM> ["I'm pretty sure you guys got involved in this the first time the black hat person showed up." Said Ji-Hu. "I thought things were weird around that time, but I wasn't exactly in a great place to be putting everything together."-
[17:52] <PersonaGM> ["But there's stuff I'm missing. You all have, er, Personas…?"]
[18:03] <Sachiko> "Yeah. How to-… ok, have you taken Psych classes, or is that just Nakajima's thing?"
[18:04] <PersonaGM> ["I do psych, too. Gotta keep an eye on him, you know, there's not a lot of baseball in psychology…"]
[18:11] * Sachiko laughed. "Ok, that makes things simpler. So, somehow Jung got it weirdly right. I've been doing some research in my downtime, and he's accurate enough that it makes me wonder whether he had inside info."
[18:11] <Sachiko> "… but that's a bit tinfoil hat. In the broad strokes, the Sea literalises his collective unconsciousness theory; It turns it into a physical place we can explore. And the Personas turn our self-image into something we can weaponise."
[18:18] <PersonaGM> ["So it's a physical space, but it's shaped by your self-image. Or rather it gives your self-image a form… And that form lets you shape the sea?"]
[18:28] <Sachiko> "It can, yeah. Not easily, necessarily - we're pushing against the collective weight of humanity's perceptive reality - but as far as I can tell having an awakened Persona gives what we try to shape more weight."
[18:30] <PersonaGM> ["So…"-
[18:32] <PersonaGM> ["What are everyone's Personas, then?"]
[18:50] * Sachiko took another swipe at her food, which disguised a momentary look of wariness. "Faust for me, Dorian Grey for Nakajima, Guy Montag for Sarah-Schreier. Then Tomoe Mami for Yoshino."-
[18:50] <Sachiko> "… oh, and Roy has Black Panther."
[18:51] <PersonaGM> ["Bit on the nose, isn't it?"]
[18:52] <Sachiko> "'A bit on the nose' seems to be part of the deal."
[18:55] <PersonaGM> ["I don't really know who the others are, though. They sound… Western? Well, not Tomoe Mami. Isn't she from an anime…?"]
[18:57] <Sachiko> "Yeah. I guess one of us had to go full magical girl."
[19:18] <PersonaGM> ["Yeah. It makes sense…"-
[19:18] <PersonaGM> ["So who's Dorian Gray?"]
[19:45] * Sachiko sighed slightly. "He's a character who pledges his soul so that a portrait will age in his place, and falls into hedonism and immorality."
[19:46] <PersonaGM> ["… Oh."]
[19:51] <Sachiko> "It's… complicated," she said. "Mine is equally bad, if I'm being honest. It makes sense to me, but if someone was to read Faust and then find out he was the representation of my innermost self I could forgive them for wondering."
[19:51] <PersonaGM> ["What's up with Faust?"]
[19:57] <Sachiko> "It's a story about a mediocre, awful man who makes a pact with the devil for knowledge and worldly pleasures in exchange for eternal damnation." she chuckled. "It formed at least some of the foundation for The Picture of Dorian Grey, so there's a fair bit of thematic crossover."
[20:01] <PersonaGM> ["Seems… Pretty grim." Said Ji-Hu. "Two spiritual contracts for physical delights, ending in their damnation… Short term gain for long term loss…"-
[20:02] <PersonaGM> ["So it sounds like something that looks twisted from the outside, but makes sense to the person themselves, huh? So what does that mean for Hideki…?"]
[20:06] <Sachiko> "Seems like you'd be better equipped to answer that than I would."
[20:06] <PersonaGM> ["H-heh. I guess that's true."-
[20:06] <PersonaGM> [She finished her first bit of chicken.-
[20:07] <PersonaGM> ["But… Why are these all characters? Literary and… Whatnot… characters?"]
[20:12] <Sachiko> "That I don't have a great answer for? There's a central point to the Sea that represents itself as a Library, and that's my best guess. According to Roy it has a book for every human being that represents the sum total of their experience."
[20:14] <PersonaGM> ["Oh geez."-
[20:15] <PersonaGM> ["Ohh. Wait." She frowned. "I get it. It's like the Personas are internet avatars."]
[20:16] * Sachiko pointed with a piece of chicken. "Yes. Exactly."
[20:19] <PersonaGM> ["So it's a mix of what you like, what you identify with and what you want to project… And of course we see those things through pop culture or media…"]
[20:21] <Sachiko> "Ok, you found a better explanation for this than I did. Not really holding up my end of the bargain, huh?"
[20:22] <PersonaGM> [Ji-Hu chuckled. "Sorry. I watch a lot of video essays."]
[20:27] * Sachiko waved a hand. "I've been soaking in this for weeks. Pretty sure the inside of my brain looks like one of those conspiracy pinboards that's been run through a dryer. Every point's connected to everything else… makes sense I can't explain it succinctly."
[20:27] <Sachiko> [Every point's tangled up with everything else*]
[20:27] <PersonaGM> ["Ooh, I see."-
[20:28] <PersonaGM> ["Well now I'm wondering what mine would be. Even though that's basically just the equivalent of a poll that you throw some questions into and get told you're Sailor Mercury or something."]
[20:31] <Sachiko> "What's your guess? Your first instinct's probably a pretty good one, given how this works."-
[20:31] * Sachiko leaned closer and mock-whispered. "Is it Sailor Mercury? I won't judge you for being the worst Sailor Scout."
[20:32] <PersonaGM> ["Hmf."-
[20:34] <PersonaGM> ["Well I guess that's better than Hideki's usual reaction to the Scouts, but no, I don't think it'd be Mercury. I mean Mercury's great-" she cocked her head at Sachiko- "But I mean… "-
[20:35] <PersonaGM> ["I don't think I really identify that much with her. But knowing this, it'll be a subconscious thing. Did Hideki know who Dorian Gray was before it became his Persona? What about you?"]
[20:36] <Sachiko> "I knew Faust. Yoshino and Roy definitely knew theirs, less sure about the other two."
[20:37] <PersonaGM> ["Hmmmm."-
[20:38] <PersonaGM> ["Well, I'm not really sure on mine, so I'll keep my suggestions to myself."-
[20:38] <PersonaGM> ["So." Another piece of chicken! Ji-Hu took a little sip of milk. "You all… Now fight Shadows?"]
[20:50] <Sachiko> "Yeah, seems that way."
[20:50] <PersonaGM> ["And Shadows are… Leaking into the real world. Which would be bad for obvious reasons…"]
[20:52] <Sachiko> "Bad like what happened yesterday."
[20:53] <PersonaGM> ["Random attacks in the streets, and… Damages…"]
[20:56] * Sachiko nodded as she chewed. "If not a lot worse."
[20:57] <PersonaGM> ["How bad are we talking?"]
[21:05] <Sachiko> "Hard to say. Not a lot of specifics offered, but going by what Roy said 'quite bad'."
[21:06] <PersonaGM> ["End of the world bad?"]
[21:31] * Sachiko tapped her finger against the plate. "I don't like the idea of misleading you now that Yoshino's gone and invited you into all this… but being honest about this is why I'd prefer to swear you to secrecy in a more formal fashion. If people find out about what we're doing things will get bad, with or without Miasma."
[21:31] <PersonaGM> ["I'm not the type to blab."]
[21:32] <Sachiko> "I don't think so either. Still makes me nervous," she sighed.-
[21:32] <Sachiko> "Yes, maybe end of the world bad."
[21:33] <PersonaGM> ["That's… Scary."-
[21:34] <PersonaGM> ["No offense, but a group of school kids and a cat man seem like a weird pick to save the world…"]
[21:35] <Sachiko> "I wouldn't trust us with shit," she said matter-of-factly. "I don't get much of a say, though."
[21:50] <PersonaGM> ["Haha. Fair enough."-
[21:51] <PersonaGM> ["… What can I do to help?"]
[21:53] * Sachiko gave her a long look. "Without a Persona… hm. Actually, you're pretty good with research, right?"
[21:55] <PersonaGM> ["I like to think so!" Said Ji-Hu, waggling her chopsticks cheerfully. The chicken, slick with sauce, nearly slipped out of her grasp.]
[21:57] * Sachiko chuckled. "Well I've been trying to work through a research and archiving project, but it's slow going. If Roy okays it, you'd probably be a great help."
[21:58] <PersonaGM> ["Sure, that's something I can do. I wouldn't know how to get a Persona anyway."]
[22:02] <Sachiko> "I'm not sure if there's a way to try to get one…"
[22:03] <PersonaGM> ["How did you all get yours?"]
[22:14] <Sachiko> "I nearly died. Not sure about everyone else."
[22:14] <PersonaGM> ["Y-Yikes. How did you nearly die?"]
[22:36] <Sachiko> Sachiko took her time chewing. "We got separated when we first entered the Metaverse. The Shadows that found me wound up setting me on fire."
[15:22] <Minaplo> ["On fire! Oh my God…"]
[15:30] * Sachiko looked ready to elaborate further, but whatever it was stuck in her throat. She picked at her food instead. "Wasn't great."
[15:32] <Minaplo> ["Y-Yeah. I'm. Um. Sorry to hear that."-
[15:32] <Minaplo> ["But uh, your Persona then came out of that?"]
[15:46] <Sachiko> "Yeah. You ever felt a moment where your emotions narrow down to a single, pure pinprick?"
[15:51] <Minaplo> ["Um. A few times, yeah."]
[15:59] * Sachiko nodded like she'd expected as much. "Well in this case, that focused emotion took on a life of its own," she said. "It offered me power, and I took it."
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["So it's like it compressed the emotion into a dense form, and that form was a Persona…"]
[16:05] <Sachiko> "Something like that, yeah."
[16:07] <Minaplo> ["Then…"-
[16:08] <Minaplo> [Ji-Hu leaned back in her seat. "Obviously, this isn't something that happens in the real world. It's a Metaverse thing. But if it's leaking into the real world, then doesn't that raise the possibility that people might start triggering Personas on this side?"]
[16:14] <Sachiko> "… yeah, I've been wondering about that," she admitted with a little grimace. "I imagine the Miasma leaks would have to be a lot worse before that started, but it'd make sense as a possibility."
[16:16] <Minaplo> ["I think I want to know more about everyone's individual Persona manifestations." Said Ji-Hu. "What do you know about the others'?"]
[16:19] <Sachiko> "In terms of what triggered them?"
[16:21] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. I mean, it sounds like it might be traumatic to recount, or intimate at least, so I won't pry too much, but I wanna know more."]
[16:26] <Sachiko> "Sorry, but I don't have any good answers for you," she said. "Nobody offered their story, and I didn't ask."
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Fair enough."-
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Okay. I think that's… Well, enough for me to focus on for now. I do have one other thing though."]
[16:30] * Sachiko made a quick 'shoot' gesture while she continued to eat.
[16:30] <Minaplo> ["What's Roy's deal?"]
[16:33] <Sachiko> "In what respect?"
[16:34] <Minaplo> ["He seems different to you guys…"]
[16:34] <Sachiko> "Is it because he's a cat?"
[16:37] <Minaplo> ["I mean… A little, but- you know." Said Ji-Hu, flushing.]
[16:38] * Sachiko frowned. "… ok, now I genuinely don't know what you mean."
[16:39] <Minaplo> ["I mean he's older."]
[16:50] <Sachiko> "Oh. Got it."-
[16:50] * Sachiko sighed. "I don't have the full story; He's pretty cagey about the details. About all he's made clear is that he was part of a group of Evokers like us thirty years ago."
[16:55] <Minaplo> ["That long ago, huh."]
[16:59] <Sachiko> "It went… from what I can tell, 'bad' is an understatement. He spent a long time on him own," she said.
[17:00] <Minaplo> ["Aw, geez." Said Ji-Hu. "Poor guy…"-
[17:00] <Minaplo> ["You're all looking after him, right?!"]
[17:05] <Sachiko> "It seemed like you had that covered."
[17:11] <Minaplo> ["Don't tease!"]
[17:16] * Sachiko snickered. "I guess I don't really know what 'looking after him' means in this case. If he doesn't want to talk about and I make it an issue, I'm doing that for my benefit, not his."
[17:18] <Minaplo> ["Hm, okay. That makes sense…"-
[17:19] <Minaplo> ["I guess it must've been pretty complicated, if the world didn't end but it still went badly."]
[17:25] <Sachiko> "Yeah. I don't know what to do about that, aside from hoping it doesn't happen to us as well," she muttered.
[17:26] <Minaplo> ["Yeah…"-
[17:26] <Minaplo> ["That's… Pretty much it." Said Ji-Hu. "You doing ok?"]
[17:53] <Sachiko> "Oh…" she looked up and flashed a quick, brittle smile. "Yeah, I'll be fine. Just tired, I guess."
[17:54] <Minaplo> ["Okay. Anything I can do to help?"]
[17:57] <Sachiko> "Try to stay out of the way of that black hat thing."
[17:57] <Minaplo> ["Haha. I'm not going to go looking for it."]
[18:01] <Sachiko> "Good. If I never see it again… one less thing to worry about." She shrugged, but didn't sound especially optimistic.
[18:02] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, that's not going to happen. Maybe the records in the library will give us clues."]
[18:04] <Sachiko> "Maybe." She pushed away her plate. "You want to go see about getting approval to use it? I can show you what I've been working on, at least."
[18:18] <Minaplo> ["Sounds good to me."]

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